I love getting massages, and I probably get them more often than most people I know. They are just something I’m willing to splurge on a few times a year, especially since I get horrible tension in my neck and shoulders and my muscles are full of knots.
I am so bad at getting massages.
What’s there to be bad at, right? You just lie there.
Right, but you’re practically naked. And you’re in a teeny-tiny room, dimly lit, with a stranger. Your decency and modesty are in that person’s hands (literally). My problem is that I have such an active imagination (see why I’m bad at getting my hair done) that I can convince myself of anything. I mean anything.
Here my top 3 most awkward massage experiences, from oldest to most recent. Please note that almost every massage therapist I have encountered has been the utmost professional; most of these experiences were only awkward because of ME.
1. The mister bought me a Groupon for a massage for my birthday a few years ago. Now I grew up with a mother who liked to use the phrase “Some things you just pay full price for,” and to me, a massage seemed like one of those things; however, he bought it for me, so I of course had to use it. At the time, I was not as familiar with navigating the downtown area, so I left extra early with handwritten directions and my GPS (my awkward travels is for another post). It took me a while to find the place because it was inside an office building within a city building, but eventually, I stepped onto a rickety elevator that took me up to…an almost darkened hallway. I’m not kidding. There were no doors on this floor, and there was one sputtering light bulb in the corner. Apparently, the mister had purchased me a Groupon for 50% off a murder. I was just thinking about how he could have sat me down and had an adult conversation with me instead of hiring a hit, when – miraculously – I saw a sign with the spa’s name on it with an arrow pointing onward. You would think this would have quelled my fears, but oh, no – this sign was handwritten. In black Sharpie. Where the hell had he taken me?? Once I finally found the place, the salon itself was perfectly fine and normal. I was greeted promptly and taken to my massage room, but the whole time I was lying there, waiting, half naked, I kept thinking about that half-priced murder. Needless to say, I was never quite able to relax.
2. I now have a particular place that I frequent exclusively. It is the cheapest place I’ve found in the city, and its two locations are each located in medical facilities, so I can get away with taking off work for a “doctor’s appointment” (just kidding – I would NEVER do that….). The place is fabulous, and I have enjoyed working with every therapist I’ve scheduled. Except one. This particular massage started out fine…until she starting contorting my body into shapes it’s not meant to be – I’m talking elbows bent backwards; legs up in the air, etc. Typically you’re on each side of your body once. Oh no, I started on my back, then to my stomach, then back to my back, each flip more flailing than the last. I got my butt massaged, which isn’t a big deal, but usually the therapist will first ask if I mind having my glutes massaged. This chick just dug in. Then came a chest massage. No big deal; however, she got so close to my breasts that I thought I was going to have to pay her extra. Needless to say, whenever I have booked with this place again, I specifically asked to NOT have her (in the nicest way possible, of course).
3. This massage was the most recent, and it was another Groupon. I know I should have learned my lesson, but the Yelp reviews on this place are amazing, so I gave it a shot. The place was fine, and the massage was fine, but the experience itself was the real gem. The massage started off normally (don’t they always), and there was the typical “soothing, ethnic music,” but I noticed that the music would swell and lower in particular parts of the massage, and it almost sounded like a war movie soundtrack. When she was slowly rubbing my back, a nice, slow, melodic piece would play (a tender moment between the hero and the heroine – the calm before the storm). When she was furiously trying to rub out my knots, the dramatic, drum-heavy battle music started (the hero desperately fighting his way back to his love), and towards the end of the massage, a sad yet peaceful tune to end on (the war is over, but the heroine has tragically died). Let’s go back to that battle music. During this time is when she focused on my face. As she did this, I kept thinking, “Please don’t touch my hair…” and of course she did. She got all up in my hair. Obviously it is not abnormal to get a head massage, but I had JUST washed my hair the night before with sample shampoo that I was running out of, and I was also trying to limit my washings because I had just gotten my color re-done. Obviously my fault. But back to the music: each massive drum beat seemed to coincide with a hair pull, so I kept imagining her sitting there, eyes closed, massaging my head and pulling my hair with all the tenacity of a retired musician playing her last show. The worst part of this experience was that I could not truly enjoy myself (despite all the entertainment I had conjured) because I kept thinking about how this would make a great blog post.